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City Green Programs Improve Roxbury Urban Wild

A group of young Boston residents from PowerCorpsBOS, a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Environment, Energy, and Open Space Cabinet, joined the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Wilds Program for an instructional tree planting at Buena Vista Urban Wild in Roxbury on October 25.

PowerCorpsBOS is a green jobs program that provides young adults from communities historically and currently excluded from the green jobs industry with training, career readiness support, and connections to employers. An “earn and learn” program, PowerCorpsBOS pays members to participate in hands-on training that prepares them for living-wage careers.

Over the course of a 6-month training program, PowerCorpsBOS teaches Corps members a variety of transferable soft skills and technical forestry skills that can be used in the green industry and beyond. Modeled after the Philadelphia PowerCorps PHL program, PowerCorpsBOS aims to both promote workforce development for opportunity youth in growing industries and support environmental stewardship and City of Boston climate policies.

Buena Vista Urban Wild provides a quiet natural respite within a dense urban setting. Dominated by a 50-foot rock cliff, the majority of the outcrop is vegetated by a mixed deciduous forest of oaks, red maples, and black cherry. A small section near the summit opens up into a cool, grassy meadow. 

Professional arborists from Arborway Tree Care taught PowerCorps students the basics of successful tree planting and post planting care in the classroom and in the field. PowerCorps students planted three hawthorn trees and learned how to solve challenges such as dealing with large rocks and debris as they dug the holes. Planting large trees roughly 10 to 14-feet-tall was a new experience for the students. 

PowerCorps and the Urban Wilds Program have put many hours of work into making much-needed improvements at Buena Vista Urban Wild. This has included ongoing woodland understory ecological restoration on the “summit” of Buena Vista as well as basic maintenance tasks like trash cleanup. The October 25 tree planting was the last site improvement project for the 2022 season.

For more information on PowerCorpsBOS write to PowerCorpsBOS@boston.gov or check out their webpage at owd.boston.gov/powercorpsbos. For more information about Boston’s Urban Wilds, visit boston.gov/urban-wilds.

PowerCorpsBOS members Nickolas Cruz, Damoni Swain, Christopher Edwards, Dandre Cloud, Rasheed Avinger, crew chief Richard Sheriff, and Jelaine Flores teamed up with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Wilds Program for an instructional tree planting at Buena Vista Urban Wild in Roxbury on October 25. 

The PowerCorpsBOS team plants one of three new hawthorn trees at Buena Vista Urban Wild in Roxbury on October 25.

Jelaine Flores of PowerCorpsBOS digs in to help plant three hawthorn trees at an instructional tree planting hosted in partnership with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Wilds Program at Buena Vista Urban Wild in Roxbury on October 25. 

Photos: Shannon Murphy

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